Romans 10:3-4. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, [the Jews] did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The law was never meant to give life. It was never meant to produce holiness. The law never could empower the very thing it demanded – righteousness. The law was meant to reveal, to expose, and convict of sin. The Jews weren’t ignorant of righteousness in terms of its nature and God’s nature. They were ignorant of how to obtain righteousness, thinking they could gain righteousness through law keeping.
Christ is the end of the law. He ended it, not by destroying it, but by fulfilling it. How? First, all of the law pointed to Christ and his redemption. We no longer need the “shadow” of the law because we have the reality, Christ himself. Second, Christ ends the law by keeping it and by taking it’s punishment, its curse. In living, he fulfilled God’s requirement for humanity, and then, in dying, he fulfilled the law’s curse upon humanity. All of the law’s demands are done. They’re over. They’re set aside. Now right standing with God is only obtained as a free gift, never by law keeping (and it never was).
Romans 4:5. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Are you ungodly? It’s not a trick question. Of course you are. I am too. But until you see yourself as ungodly, as completely unable and unworthy, until then you will never truly receive the righteousness of Christ. He will remain only an offense to you.
Are you in Christ? This too is not a trick question. If you are, then the law can never again condemn you, or enslave you. Yes, it can convict you and even “terrify” your conscience as Martin Luther said. But it should not produce despair, only hope in the grace of Christ. The law’s conviction should always take the Christian back to grace.
Rachel needs to fit in with the Crazy Rich Asians…law.
Often as Christians we begin to think that now that we are saved we can somehow fulfill the law’s demands. That the law is now our “rule for life.” It’s easy to think that if we have the right laws, or the right steps, or the right principles then we can somehow get the right life. But this is to deny the law’s purpose in the first place. The law was always meant to accuse of unrighteousness, never produce righteousness. It is also to deny the perfection of the law, and thus the futility in trying to keep it. Try not coveting today. I dare you. Or spend the day trying to be perfect. And then let me know what kind of miserable day you had. How much of each day do you spend just defending yourself to anyone who will listen (or read your trolling on Facebook)?
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Why? Because he IS our righteousness. Christian, you can’t get any more righteous. And still, at the same time, you are ungodly (God counts the ungodly as righteous – Romans 4:5). As ungodly saints we pursue Christ. We trust Christ. We submit to Christ. We desire his life, his character, his love. He becomes our law, the “law of Christ,” the fourth law – the law of the Spirit. Christ is not a law we live up to. He is the law alive in us.
Therefore “to live is Christ” is not lawlessness. To live from the indwelling life of Christ is to keep the law. But paradoxically it is not by trying to keep the law. It is by faith. Faith in your union with Christ.
Crazy Rich Asians – The mahjong scene is a bit complex, but young Rachel, unable to win the approval of her crazy rich boyfriend’s mother (the law), chooses self sacrificial love (the point of the law), and in so doing fulfills what her future mother-in-law (oops spoiler) required of her. Rachel fulfilled the law, not by trying to fulfill the law, but by grace.